We visit Pontypridd quite regularly when we stay in Monmouth, it’s a lovely little place in a lovely area of Wales so we’re really looking forward to when we can come back again and visit what looks like a lovely new bookshop.
But this is more than just a bookshop, this is a bookshop at the heart of their community. They have an activity space and work with artists, musicians, crafts and makers of all types to provide workshops and classes.
Pontypridd Books at ARTtic
4 Fothergill Street
Telephone: 01443 524280
In their own words
Who are you? Who owns the bookshop? Bit of a bio and pics, please
We’re Jeff Baxter and Cerith Mathias, the team behind Pontyrpidd Books at ARTtic. We’re both hugely passionate about books, and the world of books and love nothing more than long bookish chats in the shop or on social media. Cerith’s background is in journalism and Jeff’s is in the charity sector so a key aim of the shop is to make the joy of reading accessible to all.
Why a bookshop? What made you want to get into bookselling?
We’d been working together on book-related projects for a number of years before deciding to set up the bookshop. We’re both founding members of the Cardiff Book Festival and Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival teams which the bookshop has a close relationship with. So now we get to hold a book festival every day of the year!
Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?
We stock a wide variety of genres, from bestselling fiction and non-fiction to new titles and classics to children’s books and YA. We’re proud to support Welsh publishers and their wonderful authors, writing in both English and in Welsh. Cerith also specialises in American Literature from the Deep South, so our shop has become a go to for fans of authors such as Harper Lee, Alice Walker and more.
What makes your bookshop special?
The shop is very much rooted in the community and is located in ARTtic, a hub for arts, crafts and music in the South Wales Valleys. We’re the only independent book shop in the area and our partnerships with Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival and Cardiff Book Festival ensure that there’s always plenty going on – from author events to panel discussions and competitions to engage all ages. We also curate Booklovers Bundles, our book subscription service where we put together a themed choice of books and bookish gifts. Perfect for every bibliophile!
What is the best book-related gift you’ve ever received?
Cerith: Not a gift as such, but one of my favourite book-related possessions is a peacock feather I got from a trip to Flannery O’Connor’s farmhouse in Millidgeville, Georgia in the US. O’Connor is famous for her love of peacocks, and the feather is from a descendant of one of her original birds from the 1950s.
Jeff: I don’t really go in for book related stuff, apart from errr, books. My best book gift was ‘The Carpet People’ by Terry Pratchett. I’ve been obsessed with books ever since.
What are you reading at the moment?
Jeff: It feels like I’m part way though a thousand books but I”m mostly managing to focus on George R.R. Martin’s ‘Fire and Blood’ and Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Alloy of Law.’
Name three books on your TBR.
Cerith: I’m very much looking forward to two new releases early in 2021 – ‘Under a Dark Angel’s Eye,’ a new collection of Patricia Highsmith stories to mark her centenary and Joan Didion’s ‘Let Me Tell You What I Mean’. At the top of my TBR pile at the moment is ‘The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War’ by Michael Gorra.
Jeff: My TBR is so substantial it’s now a load bearing TBR, which I’m bit scared to disturb. I suspect sentience. Deep in its bowels there is ‘Exciting Times’ by Naoise Dolan, ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell and ‘The Dark Tower III’ by Stephen King.